• IDRA Newsletter • November-December 2020 •

IDRA Will Teach Graduate-Level “Social Justice Through Education Policy” Course this Spring

Texas A&M University-Commerce and IDRA are partnering to create a trailblazing collaboration to increase access to higher education and provide students with insight into navigating the educational policymaking process.

As part of the agreement, IDRA will provide the curriculum for an online elective course on social justice through policy. The A&M-Commerce Department of Educational Leadership will offer the graduate-level course in the spring of 2021. The course will be based on a curriculum designed for the IDRA Education Policy Fellows program, a nine-month initiative designed to give real-world state policymaking experience to advocates familiar with communities of color in Texas.

Celina Moreno, J.D., IDRA president & CEO, and Morgan Craven, J.D., IDRA national director of policy, advocacy and community engagement will teach the course, which coincides with the 2021 Texas legislative session. They also will facilitate guest speakers, panels and experiential learning opportunities.

Along with other assignments, course participants will interact and work with fellows in IDRA’s Education Policy Fellows program while networking with partners in the policy, advocacy and legal communities of Texas.

“IDRA has a powerful legacy of education policy work that spans almost five decades, and we’ve seen the difference it makes when advocates who are connected to impacted communities are present in the rooms where decisions about their lives are made,” Moreno said.

Dr. Kimberly McLeod, dean of the College of Education and Human Services, said the partnership is revolutionary.

“Students will have an opportunity to examine how current policies impact education through the various lenses of people who are actually doing the work,” McLeod said. “Students at A&M-Commerce will be better prepared to enter the workforce with a knowledge mindset, ready to create positive outcomes for their respective communities and learning communities, than most other graduates around the state of Texas.”

She added the partnership will help create equity and advocacy for the most marginalized and underrepresented learning communities in Texas. She hopes it will open the door for collaborating with many other organizations throughout the state for the purpose of exposing students to state and national networks.

Learn more about the “Social Justice Through Education Policy” course at A&M-Commerce

“We want our students working side by side with state and national leaders who are agents of change,” McLeod said. “Graduates from A&M-Commerce will be prepared to be bridge builders and future leaders of Texas.”

In turn, A&M-Commerce is offering several incentives for IDRA staff and coalition members to attend the university.

IDRA staff and coalition members who have high-school age children will be able to participate in the university’s Rising Lions program. Through the program, incoming freshmen can start taking college classes in the second summer term and take advantage of opportunities to engage with new friends, join student organizations and adjust to the college environment prior to the start of the fall semester. Rising Lions also receive free textbooks for the first six college credit hours of the summer term.

Additionally, IDRA staff and coalition members will have the opportunity to pursue graduate degrees through the Dean Opportunity grant program. The program will provide a continuous grant of $600 per semester to those who meet program criteria.

Learn more about the “Social Justice Through Education Policy” course at A&M-Commerce

[©2020, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the November-December 2020 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]